National Black HIV / AIDS Awareness Day – February 7

Cross-posted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

February 5, 2021

Dear Colleague,

The impact of COVID-19 has revealed long-standing health disparities and inequalities that affect blacks or African Americans (hereinafter referred to as African Americans), and some of these disparities mirror those we see with the HIV. Differences in access to health care, educational opportunities, social support, and financial resources have directly and indirectly influenced overall health outcomes for far too many people. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we remember that we must work together to ensure that our family, friends, loved ones and communities have the knowledge and resources to stay safe and healthy in the face of COVID-19 and HIV.

February 7 is National Black HIV / AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a day to celebrate advances in HIV prevention, reduce HIV stigma and encourage HIV testing and treatment among Afro -Americans. This year’s theme, We are in this set, emphasizes the role everyone plays in ending HIV. Although we are physically separate, we can work together to prevent new HIV infections and improve health equity.

Some progress has been made in reducing HIV diagnoses among African Americans in recent years. From 2014 to 2018, HIV diagnoses decreased by 7% among African Americans overall in the United States and dependent regions. Among African American men, HIV diagnoses decreased by 6%, and among African American women, HIV diagnoses decreased by 10%. These advances indicate the success of targeted efforts to prevent HIV among African Americans, but much work remains to be done.

In 2018, more than 16,000 African Americans were diagnosed with HIV, representing 42% of all new HIV diagnoses; yet, African Americans make up only 13% of the American population. Additionally, while HIV diagnoses have remained stable among African American gay and bisexual men overall, HIV diagnoses increased 12% between 2014 and 2018 among men aged 25 to 34. Problems such as limited access to health care, racism and discrimination, and lack of confidence in the health system are common barriers to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services for some Afro- Americans. We can and must work together to address these challenges and accelerate progress in reducing disparities and inequalities.

As part of the HHS Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE), CDC works with health services and community organizations to address service challenges and help meet the HIV prevention and care needs of their communities. This includes improving access to HIV testing (including self-testing), increasing the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who do not have HIV, and associating or reintegrating HIV-positive people into care and treatment. Ensuring that people have access to these effective prevention and care services can help us achieve our goal of ending HIV.

For NBHAAD, we encourage you to use a new set of CDC prevention materials Let’s stop HIV together campaign that expands our portfolio, building on existing resources for HIV prevention, testing, treatment and stigma. Help us raise awareness by sharing social media content from our digital toolkit using the hashtags #NBHAAD and #StopHIVTogether.

We appreciate your unwavering dedication to HIV prevention in these difficult times. We are determined to end the HIV epidemic and achieve health equity. It’s been a long road, but we know we can achieve our goals because We are in this set.

Truly,

/ Demetre Daskalakis /
Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Director
HIV / AIDS Prevention Division
National Center for the Prevention of HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/hiv

/ Jonathan Mermin /
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Deputy Surgeon General, USPHS
Director
National Center for the Prevention of HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp


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